COVID-19 Isolation Diaries

I never thought I’d write this blog post. Simply because some part of me thought I was some kind of mega superhuman who managed to avoid the coronavirus for 2 years as everyone around me caught it left, right and centre. I work in a retail and school environment and I interact with hundreds of kids and their parents weekly, and I took public transport everyday. I still didn’t catch it! Amazing.

Come February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, and I feel so ill that I thought I was dying. My throat felt like burning hot razorblades, I had a fever of 38°c, my body was aching and my head was throbbing. Oh no – did I catch it? I felt like I did.

Everyone in my family took a test. Alas, my grandma and my live-in helper tested positive. They quickly went to isolate and I thought to myself, this negative test I received must be a false negative. But I waited.

Day 1 – 14th February

I woke up feeling like I was burning in hell. I quickly texted my boss to tell her I wouldn’t be coming in today as I was ill and that I suspected I had COVID. I took a test at 9.30am and it came out negative but I didn’t trust it. After all, I had just been in close contact with 2 positive cases.

I went to the doctor with my mother, who coincidentally started feeling ill too. “We definitely have it!” I kept telling her. I was 100% convinced. But by this time, I had 4 negative tests.

The doctor at our GP gave us an ART test and sent us home with medication. An hour later, the godforsaken text message came in.

“Dear S—-853C, you have tested positive for COVID-19. You should self isolate immediately for at least 72 hours. Thereafter, you may exit self-isolation if you test negative on a self administered ART, or on day 7 if fully vaccinated.”

I knew it! I knew I was getting false negatives. My mum tested positive too.

My mum and I quickly isolated in the master bedroom of our flat as it had an ensuite bathroom. I felt like death, and I drank lots of water. The body aches were terrible, and the dull, numb headache was making me feel extremely lethargic. The rest of the day flew by as we slept, ate, showered and slept again.

I also realised I had lost my sense of taste. I could still smell, but tasting food was difficult. I was apparently eating a very ‘tasty’ meal of fried rice that had 0 flavour to me, and it upset me deeply.

Day 2 – 15th February

I woke up with the worst sore throat I think I had ever had in my life. It was painful to the point that I couldn’t even swallow liquids.

I also sweat throughout the night, so much to the point that my pajama top was soaked. I felt disgusting, so I showered twice on this day. I stayed in bed a lot, watched H3 podcast videos and played some games. The fever was making me feel extremely tired, so I drifted in and out of sleep several times during the day (as you will notice, I did this a lot during isolation).

In the afternoon, my fever seemed to subside but the body aches were there. I also started developing a chesty cough. My dad bought coconuts for my mum and I to drink as it had been highly recommended.

Had porridge for dinner and it was ideal as it was watery, soupy and warm. I would highly recommend sticking with hot, soupy meals for your COVID isolation. Fried foods are NOT THE ONE and will definitely make you feel worse.

Day 3 – 16th February

Day 3 coming around meant that I had to take another ART test according to the Ministry Of Health’s rules. If I tested negative, I could exit self isolation.

Alas, the positive line was super thick and dark on my ART test kit. Not surprised.

The moment I opened my eyes, I knew there was no way I was going to test negative. I felt HORRIBLE. The worst day by far. I genuinely thought I was gonna sink into the bed and die. The fever and headaches were crippling and the cough made it almost impossible for me to lie down and rest. Whenever I tried to talk, a coughing attack would hit me suddenly.

I talked as little as possible on this day. Also drank lots and lots of water and coconut juice.

Day 3 was the worst day by far. Both my mum and I had very similar symptoms. I had to take a few puffs of my inhaler as I started to wheeze from a combination of my asthma and the coughing fits.

Day 4 – 17th February

A glimmer of hope has appeared! I woke up with only a sore throat, a very very mild, almost undetectable fever and cold sweats. The worst downside was the cough, I practically coughed all night which made it difficult for myself and my mum to have a good night’s rest.

The test still showed a very very strong negative line but I felt like the worst was over. I had heard from several friends who had recovered from COVID that Day 3 would be the worst day of them all and it seems like it was true.

I was well enough to have full meals again, but my sense of smell was no where to be found. I couldn’t even smell my shampoo or soaps I use in the shower and they’re quite strongly scented. I was upset about the loss of sense of smell as I enjoy food a lot and couldn’t really enjoy it now.

I developed a sudden horrid headache in the evening and it only went away after several hours of me writhing in pain. COVID headaches/ migraines are very very painful. I couldn’t open my left eye. I took off my glasses and turned blue light filter on all my devices I was using. It did help a little.

Stayed in bed most of the day (where else could I go?) with some H3 podcasts to entertain me. Drifted in and out of sleep once again as my entire body felt lethargic and tired.

Day 5 – 18th February

The first thing I did when I woke up was to do an ART test because if I were negative, I’d have to turn up at work the next day (Saturday). I wasn’t feeling tip-top yet, but nothing compared to the hellfire that I experienced on day 3.

My test still showed a thick, dark line.

Slightly relieved that I wouldn’t have to show up for a 13 hour shift the next day, I’ll also say I didn’t feel as ill as the line showed. The line looked exactly the same as it did on days 2 and 3 but I was feeling miles better.

Felt well enough to order a McDonald’s delivery too. Thought that was a mildly important update.

Day 6 – 19th February

I woke up feeling good. My throat was still a bit dry and my nose blocked but I felt way better than yesterday. The cough was still present but at least the fever was gone.

Got up, made myself an avocado toast and did another ART test. Alas, the line was still thick and dark. It looked the same as yesterday’s test. I had only just read an article about a poor Turkish man who tested positive for 8 months and I was certain that would be me again. My mum tested negative on this day (keep in mind she tested positive on Monday, same as me).

Sustained a mild cough for the rest of the day and moved back to my own bedroom because of my mum testing negative. I missed my own bed so much!

Day 7 – 20th February

Day 7 came around and I was honestly prepared for the positive line to still be there. And it was. Everyone around me had negative tests except me and I was on day 7.

According to the Ministry of Health in Singapore, I am allowed to self-discharge after 12pm on Day 7 if I still test positive because I am no longer infectious. Personally, it still sounded scary. My positive line wasn’t super thick but it was very visible. I didn’t go back to work or go out today.

My sense of smell was still completely gone. I had a laksa for lunch and couldn’t taste or smell anything. I put my strongest perfume bottle up close to my nose and I couldn’t smell anything. As I run a soap and candle making business, this worried me a lot. How do I make scented things if I can’t smell?

Day 8 – 21st February

Ah, it has been a week since I tested positive. What did this mean for me?

According to government rule, it didn’t matter if I tested positive or negative on this day, I was free to exit isolation as I was no longer considered contagious or dangerous to people around me. I did a quick test in the morning and the faintest positive line was still present. I felt well enough to go back to work so I did.

What was left of COVID? I had a mild cough, a very congested nose and my voice sounded funny. I also noticed I was sweating a lot (I call them the post-COVID sweats) no matter what environment I was in. I felt damp all the time, it was awful and still hasn’t gone away (I’m writing this post on day 9). Back aches were still present, and I felt lethargic, still do.

One of the worst bits was that I could not smell. My sense of taste was not too bad, I could taste the strawberry birthday cake my colleague got me the day before, but I couldn’t smell it, nor could I smell my Jo Malone perfume. How was I meant to know if I stank?! It’s a miserable time.

Did you get COVID? Was your experience similar to mine, or did my experience (particularly on day 3) scare you?

Stay safe and healthy everyone!


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